The dry spell in August during grain fill has compromised stalk integrity.
“It placed a significant amount of drought stress on many of our cornfields out there, even though a lot of the area in Michigan received rainfall in the early parts of September,” said Christopher Bauer, Pioneer agronomist. “The effects of the drought stress were already apparent at that point.”
Bauer said that as grain fill wraps up or corn reaches full maturity, growers should be out checking stalk integrity.
“Anytime the environment reduces the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and produce energy during grain fill, the corn plant is going to start sacrificing energy and pulling energy from the vegetative growth to help fill out that ear,” he said. “It starts out pulling from your stalk—that’s going to leave your plant weakened because it’s pulling from that part of the plant.”
After that, it can predispose the tissue to diseases, which increases the likelihood of lodging.
“Another thing to look for too is if you’ve got fields with really good ear size or a lot of kernels on those ears, those are the fields that if they were under drought stress, are at higher risk for stalk lodging, stalk rot, or potentially having those harvestability issues.”
Even though it’s harvest time, Bauer still wants growers to check their stalk integrity to make sure they can withstand a possible windstorm.
This agronomy update has been made possible by Pioneer.